128. Sympathy

Today’s reading: “The Ministry of Healing” pp. 244b-245.

When the love and sympathy that Christ manifested for the sick is combined with the physician’s knowledge, his very presence will be a blessing.

Today we see Christ’s method in action in dealing with diseases “caused through the mind.” We look specifically at steps 2 to 4, ‘He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence.’

Sympathy and tact will often prove a greater benefit to the sick than will the most skillful treatment given in a cold, indifferent way.

Many long for ‘words of sympathy and assurance’ but especially in cases with comorbid ‘living home trouble’, remorse for sin and those with ‘ailments that are largely imaginary.’

Great wisdom is needed in dealing with diseases caused through the mind. A sore, sick heart, a discouraged mind, needs mild treatment.

This ‘mild treatment’ consists of tender sympathy and pointing the patient to Christ.

The physician should first gain their confidence and then point them to the Great Healer.., and they can have confidence that He has undertaken their case, this will bring relief to the mind and often give health to the body.

Confidence is won by frankness, constant kindness and unwearied patience and tact. Confidence is forfeited by concealing the true nature of the disease, offering false hope of recovery and prevarication. Or, by discouraging those with a long, hard recovery ahead and offending the unreasonable. And then there is a listless, careless, indifferent bedside manner, not sympathising, putting self in the place of the patient.

That’s a tough ask!

There are two important points that come out of today’s reading

  1. Christ as the True Physician, is introduced at the “confidence” step, not the “follow me” step.
  2. This process of mind-and-body cure does indeed require ‘great’ wisdom and sympathy. Only the tact (wisdom and love combined) of Christ, combined with the physician’s knowledge will suffice,
The Saviour is willing to help all who call upon Him for wisdom and clearness of thought. And who needs wisdom and clearness of thought more than does the physician, upon whose decisions so much depends? Let the one who is trying to prolong life look in faith to Christ to direct his every movement. The Saviour will give him tact and skill in dealing with difficult cases. pp.117,8

Sympathy is a huge topic, and the cure for our greatest sin. It would be a good idea to flick back and read pages 162 to 164. And notice the tight link between wisdom and sympathy again.

Index to “The Ministry of Healing” readings.

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